This week, I'm reading Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole. It's a book geared towards Christians or those who are, at least, open to Christianity. If that's not you, I urge you to trust me and read on anyways.
[caption id="attachment_897" align="aligncenter" width="317"] I've learned it's easier just to go along with her. Hence the scarf...[/caption]
I'm not sure I would have picked up this book were it not for an interesting looking book group on (in)courage that I wanted to join. Normally, I race through books, reading two or three at a time. The group is journeying through this book a few chapters at a time and I like the discipline of slowly digesting a book and taking time to consult scripture and make notes. I also like the idea of reading a book with others traveling a similar path. There's power in that, I believe.
Mended author, Angie Smith, initially wrote about the pain of losing her hours-old daughter, Audrey Caroline -- and the support God provided -- on her blog, Bring the Rain. She wanted to put what she learned about being broken and mended again into book form. The image on the book's cover is of a cracked ceramic jug -- a theme that carries throughout her book. In one of the many books on grieving Smith received after her daughter's death, she read that a good form of therapy was to smash a piece of glass or pottery. At first, she dismissed the idea as ridiculous but then felt called not only to smash a ceramic pitcher she owned (which she found made her feel really great) but also to stay up most of the night putting it back together again, something she urges her readers to try. As she looked at the glue-gun mended jug, she realized that God was able to take the broken shards of pottery we are at points in our life and make us whole again. What Smith noticed, though, is that while we are made whole, we are not unchanged. There are cracks. And it is in those cracks -- those scars, those wounds, those gaps -- that God moves into our lives. As Leonard Cohen put it: "There is a crack in everything. / That's how the light gets in."
Smith wrote the book for those of us who have felt - who feel - either that our lives are un-mendable and that nothing good can come from our brokenness. Smith reminds us that God is with us when we break:
He will come to you and remind you that He loves the gaps because there is more potential for Himself to be revealed in you.
I loved Smith's fourth chapter, titled, Why Weren't You Moses? She tells a story included in Ian Morgan Cron's Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale
Do you know the story of Rabbi Zusya?" he asked. "He was a Chasidic master who live in the 1700s. One day he said, 'When I get to the heavenly court, God will not ask me, 'Why weren't you Moses?' Rather he will ask me, 'Why were you not Zusya?'
We are not called to be Moses. We are called to be us. Smith continued to quote from the book:
Tell your story with all of its shadow and fog, so people can understand their own. They want a leader who's authentic, someone trying to figure out how to follow the Lord Jesus in the joy and wreckage of life. They need you, not Moses.
Smith discusses how we all have a Moses in our life: people who seem to be better at everything - and more worthy of God's love - than we are. She writes:
How much time do I spend comparing, contrasting, evaluating, doubting, and allowing myself to feel like a disappointment when the Lord tells me over and over that He loves me?
God does not want us to wallow in our brokenness. Perhaps we cannot be Moses. Perhaps we cannot do what he does and we cannot have his life. So what? I was meant to be me and to have this life experience. All of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. I was meant to be broken and to be mended and to use the experience to learn and to teach. I don't need to wander around thinking "why me?"
In January, I decided to put the past behind me and to simply say yes to God, this year. So far he has provided me with many blessings and has never led me astray. God placed it on my heart to join this book group. So I did. I'm glad He did and look forward to the journey.